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Customer Review

VINE VOICEon 26 February 2009
Following the cancellation of the programme in 1985, which was changed a few weeks later to an 18 month supension, it seemed that Doctor Who was on borrowed time, and every subsequent season would be its last. By 1989, the series ratings were very low, compared to the 8 million who watched Colin Baker's first season three years earlier. Despite this, the show was actually going through a new and exciting change. Scrpt editor, Andrew Cartmel, moved the series away from the more action packed stories of predecessor Eric Saward, into more mysterious and darker science fiction themed stories. He also attempted to make The Doctor more mysterious, returning to the original premise of the programme, when William Hartnell was The Doctor. To this end, The Doctor, as played by Sylvester McCoy became a darker, manipulative character. Seemingly aware of all that was going on around him, and knowing the outcome before it occurred.
By series 3, Cartmel's plans were in full swing, and we were treated to several very good stories helping to make this last season the best of the McCoy era. Survival in particular links up very well with the next series, some 16 years later. In a break from the past, the story does not feature well known London landmarks, but rather the suburbian location of Perivale. It seems that an ancient cheetah race have been capturing people, and transporting them to their own world, were the people are hunted like animals. As well as a good script by Rona Munro, Survival also benefits from excellent performances, by Julian Holloway, Lisa Bowerman and the two leads Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred. It is often been cited that Anthony Ainley is at his best in his last appearance as The Master. Even Hale and Pace, potentially a disaster, play their roles are straight. This is why the story works so well, if actors do not give over the top performances, teh viewers will treat the story seriously.
The only slight disappointment are the cheetah people customes, but compared to the Mandrels poor Vervoids, they are not that bad. This is a good stuff. A great final outing for the original run.
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